Nauru justice minister attacks Nauru 19 lawyers

Nauru's Justice Minister David Adeang. Picture: RNZ

YAREN, 16 AUGUST 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – A Nauru government minister has made scathing comments in parliament about the so-called Nauru 19, their lawyers and the judge hearing the case.

The Nauru 19 are facing charges in relation to an anti-government protest outside parliament more than three years ago.

Justice minister David Adeang said the government wants to spend more on Nauru’s vulnerable but it can’t do this if it’s forced to pay a hefty amount in legal fees [US $166,606] to the lawyers who have represented the Nauru 19 for more than a year for no payment.

Australian judge, Geoffrey Muecke, who was brought in by the Nauru government to hear the Nauru 19 case, ruled in June the government make the payment to ensure a fair trial.

But the government refused and Adeang said the money will not be going to white people who live in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

Adeang said these strangers from overseas, who he called white ears – a disparaging Nauruan term for whites, have very different values to the people of Nauru, but that after the trial the Nauru 19 will be locked up and the government will pursue them for debts with the money to benefit the people of Nauru.

He said, first, the government needs to deal with Justice Muecke.

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